[kids]. All my paperwork said ‘unspecified origin.’ We spent three years of active trying before we went to IVF. First I went on Clomid. Then I had some dye tests and found I had a collapsed tube, so I had laparoscopic surgery; the tube wasn’t blocked, just spasming.
We did three IUIs [intrauterine insemination], and then decided it wasn’t worth doing a fourth, and we’d go on to in vitro fertilization.
On her first IVF cycle, Martie conceived, giving birth to twins Eva Ruth and Kathleen ‘Katie’ Emilie, on April 27th, 2004. Currently, Martie and Gareth are trying for another baby — she began the IVF process again in August.
Last time we had three embryos left over. I had all three implanted, but none were successful. So now I have to go through the whole retrieval process again. I started with twins, and now I think I only want one more child, maybe two.
Martie does have a concern about possible leftover embryos, though.
Now that I have children, I see those embryos as possible children. So I have to think about what my options are if there are leftovers again. I could keep them in storage, and maybe they will help my children some day. Or I can try to donate them to stem cell research. I don’t think I could give them to another family. I would always worry: what if it’s an abusive family? What if they don’t get enough love?
On Doctor’s Visits and Injections While Touring
Emily: I’m by nature a very modest person, but by the end of that tour, everyone had seen me naked. You’ll do anything when you’re wanting to have a baby. I can laugh about it now, but I called that the gynecological tour across the United States.
The band was on a European tour when it was time for Martie’s IVF cycle. Martie recalls,
I had to take the shots on the road and see different doctors in different countries. That was hard. I remember once in Scandinavia there was a doctor whose examining table — with stirrups — looked like it was in the middle of his personal office. It was the dustiest, dirtiest, non-sterile environment for a check-up.
Other things were hard that most people wouldn’t think of. Some of the fertility medications and shots have to be refrigerated, and can’t be in the light. I had to make sure that I had a mini-refrigerator in whatever country I was in. And if I ruined a batch of medicine, I had to find a 24-hour pharmacy.
Also, you have to have the shots within a certain time period, and sometimes we were on a plane then. So I’d have to carry a pack with ice in it. Luckily I had my husband with me the whole time. He was the note-taker and the organizer, and he gave me the shots, too.
On Insurance and Using Fertility Treatments
Both sisters feel very strongly about insurance companies and their infertility coverage — or lack thereof. Although because of their careers as Dixie Chicks, they were lucky enough to be able to afford as many fertility treatments as they felt they needed, Emily and Martie are both aware that lack of funds is a major stumbling block for many couples dealing with infertility. Martie says,
I really have a problem with the fact that insurance companies don’t see infertility as a medical condition requiring coverage. I do want there to be some pressure on the insurance companies. It’s such a strong drive for women, knowing you were meant to be a mom. We would have gone into debt, done whatever, exhausted all the options, to get there. But a lot of women have to give up on that dream because they can’t afford it.
However, she adds,
Thank God I live in a time when I can get some assistance.
Probably half our friends are in some sort of therapy for infertility, whether it’s just artificial insemination, or all the way through in vitro. We kind of feel like it’s epidemic at this point with our generation. And we all have our theories on why that is.
In the beginning I felt such a stigma about it, but then I found out how many people are affected by infertility, and what a beautiful thing it is that there’s this technology and science out there to help couples have children. The more people talk about it, the less stigma there is. I never want anyone to feel that it’s not as beautiful a way to have a child as any other.
On Their Bandmate, Natalie Maines
Natalie was always sympathetic and supportive of Emily and Martie, but also felt guilty at the ease in which she conceived while her bandmates struggled. Martie remembers,
She got pregnant with her sons so easily, I think she almost felt guilty watching us — but I don’t think women should feel guilty.
Emily: Natalie was always able to say, ‘Okay, we have nine months off. I’m going to get pregnant.’ And she did. [Second son Beckett Finn was born on July 14th, 2004.] But Martie and I had to start hoping we’d get pregnant, and then it would take a while and we’d be back in the work cycle.
On the lyrics to ‘So Hard,’ off of Taking the Long Way
Martie: I don’t think we would have been strong enough to write the song while we were in the throes of [infertility]. We felt more comfortable writing about it once we had success.
Emily expounds on the song and what it’s meant.
Sometimes a title dictates what a song is about. It was a hard day, and we were having writer’s block. Natalie said, ‘It’s so hard when it doesn’t come easy,’ and we went from there. It started out as a relationship song, but then we decided to apply it to our own situation and get very personal about trying to conceive, and how hard it is on your relationship when you have problems.
I do think it crosses a lot of boundaries. And the people who know what it’s about with us and infertility write us letters. I think our fans appreciate that we’re real women going through what real women go through. And now they have a song.
The lyrics include:
It felt like a given/Something a woman is born to do/A natural ambition/See a reflection of me and you/And I’d feel so guilty/If that was a gift I couldn’t give/And could you be happy/If life wasn’t how we pictured it.
RSMC is a state-of-the-art, full-service fertility center in San Diego offering the services Martie and Emily used plus surrogacy and egg donation. If you have any questions about any of these services please contact us at email@example.com